Breaking down Harvard’s 2017-18 women’s and men’s schedules

Harvard women’s basketball tries to keep upper division streak alive

The Harvard women’s basketball team released its 2017-18 schedule and hopes to build on its post-season Ivy Tournament appearance and first-round WNIT victory in 2016-17.  This will be the 36th season for legendary head coach Kathy Delaney-Smith, who is the only coach to ever guide a No. 16 seed in a victory over a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.  Smith’s teams have been in the Ivy upper division for 32 of her 35 seasons at Harvard, while placing in the top three each of the last 14 years.  With the continuation of the postseason Ivy Tournament, the odds look strong for the Crimson to return to the Palestra in early March.

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Columbia all-time moment No. 10: Columbia 11, Kentucky 0

We’re counting down the top 10 moments in each Ivy school’s history as part of our Ivy League at 60 retrospective. Columbia is next because the Chairman is in.

In news that should surprise no one, our countdown of the top 10 moments in Columbia basketball history begins with a loss. It was a game that all basketball fans had written off as a Lions loss from the second the fixture was announced, as their opponent was expected not just to be one of the best college basketball teams in 2014-15, but in the history of the sport. Coming off a national championship appearance in 2014, Kentucky was preseason No. 1 and would ultimately feature six NBA Draft picks, including four in the lottery and the number one overall pick in Karl-Anthony Towns. Since taking over for Joe Jones, Kyle Smith has made a habit of scheduling challenge games against major conference opponents like Michigan State, St. John’s and Villanova, so putting Kentucky on the slate in a game nationally televised on ESPN2 was not a surprise.

Columbia’s hot start in Rupp Arena, however, was stunning.

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Columbia beats Kentucky, 46-56

Kyle Smith's squad was on top of its slow-paced game at No. 1 Kentucky last week. (gocolumbialions.com)
Kyle Smith’s squad was on top of its slow-paced game at No. 1 Kentucky last week. (gocolumbialions.com)

When you’re an Ivy League team and you play the No. 1-ranked team in the country, your goal is respectability. To show your fans that you can hang tough with blue-chip NBA prospects, to make your alumni proud on the biggest possible stage, and to demonstrate to basketball observers anywhere that the Ivy League is not to be taken lightly.

The Columbia Lions checked all three of those boxes on Wednesday — and many more. They scored eleven points before Kentucky — a team with NINE All-Americans coming out of high school, playing at home in one of the toughest gyms in the country — scored even one. They led at halftime, 25-23, ensuring an ESPN2 halftime show that focused on how good Columbia was playing.* It was 27 minutes into the game before Kentucky seized the lead, as the Lions forced the Wildcats to activate their considerable potential in a game they would have expected to be a walk in the cake. It was a game that will linger long in the memory of the long-suffering Light Blue boosters.

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